By now you’ve probably seen or heard about that ridiculous fat shaming video by that ridiculous fat shaming bigot. If not, consider yourself lucky. Regardless I’m not going to talk about it that much – bigot engages in bigoted troll behavior for attention, not news. What concerns me are some of the responses that I’m seeing to it by people who, in theory, disagree with the ridiculous bigot but, in practice are (inadvertently) adding to the oppression of fat people.
From my perspective the response to this could not be more simple: Fat people deserve to be treated with basic human respect because we are human. Weight-based bigotry and oppression are wrong because bigotry and oppression are wrong. Fat people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which includes living in a world where we do not face harassment, bullying, stigma and oppression, and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what being fat means, or if we could become thin by some means however easy or difficult. Period.
There were some responses to the video that I personally found almost more offensive than the original video. People talking about the experience of being fat as if their experience is everyone’s experience. People confusing and conflating fat bodies with behavior, illness, and a traumatic past, and suggesting that fat people shouldn’t be bullied because their size might not be their fault. I saw fat people saying that nobody ever wanted to become fat, that nobody would stay fat if they had a choice, and that being fat is an outward sign of transgressions committed. by fat people.
Fuck that. Fuck a bunch of that. There are definitely people who are fat for those reasons, people are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, that’s not the issue. The issue is suggesting that fat people must have some “approved justification” for being fat, and must buy into the idea that we don’t want to be fat and would be thin if we could, in order to be treated with basic human respect, which is bullshit.
If people want to insist on an end to weight-based oppression on the basis that their fat is not their fault (whatever the reason,) or that don’t want to be fat, they would be thin if they could, they are trying to be thin, or whatever, they can do that,, but it contributes to oppression of other fat people and they should definitely not talk about these things as if they speak for all fat people, because they do not.
I’m all for not bullying fat people. But when we suggest that some fat people don’t deserve to be bullied because they meet certain criteria, we are also (intentionally or not) suggesting that fat people who don’t meet those criteria do deserve bullying. And that’s crap.
When we say “Bullying and oppressing fat people is wrong” we are making a statement of fact that does not require any qualifiers.
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